Isle of Man TT legend John McGuinness has been named International Rider of the Year.
Just days after confirming he would once again race for the Honda TT Legends at the 2013 Isle of Man TT fuelled by Monster Energy, the 19-times TT winner received the prestigious accolade from magazine Road Racing Ireland.
It has been another strong year for the Morecambe Missile, winning his 18th and 19th TT race victories and running well in the Endurance World Championship.
The magazine’s editor-in-chief Leslie Moore said McGuinness had been chosen ahead of other international racers as he seems to be getting better and better, rather than slowing down as the years pass.
Writing in the 2012 Yearbook edition, Mr Moore says:
“The reason I have made him my International Rider of the Year is because he is riding better and faster than ever, despite turning 40 last April”
“McGuinness remains the most successful and popular road racers of the year, and long may it continue. Plus, he knows he has earned the respect of even the most hardened Joey Dunlop supporters who all wish him great success in the future.”
“He is a true legend in his own right.”
The magazine pays particular tribute to his domination of the Superbike classes at the TT, saying he looks faultless at record-breaking speeds.
Mr Moore adds:
“Like Joey he never looks out of control and knew right form the start how to attack the race leaving all the others in his wake, and always seemed to have more in reserve if required.
“Over the past 100 years there have only been a selected group of riders who have won TT races and yet you can still see in McGuinness’s eyes in the winner’s enclosure how much winning the TT means to him.”
The magazine points to his run at the North West 200 in May, where he secured another Superbike victory, his two wins at the 2012 TT, including his first Superstock victory, and second place on his debut in the SES TT Zero race.
Mr Moore also points out McGuinness secured the fastest lap of the 2012 TT, increased his personal best laps at other race meetings and was a strong contender at every event he attended.
Alongside his success on the track, his attitude off the bike is praised. Mr Moore recognises the commitment given by McGuinness to personal appearances to promote the events he races in, and his willingness to engage with fans at the TT.
The magazine says:
“Like Joey, he doesn’t put himself above it all, as he casually walks through the public paddock chatting to those people who have made the effort to come to the Isle of Man to see him.”
At the 2013 TT, McGuinness will have the chance to try and move closer to Joey Dunlop’s record of 26 TT wins. Road Racing Ireland reveals McGuinness felt nervous about closing on that legendary tally because he feared a backlash from Joey fans.
However, Mr Moore says that won’t happen.
“As he nears Joey’s record total of TT wins, he was expecting many people to turn against him, especially from Joey’s large following in Ireland.”
“This October, McGuinness turned up in the Dunlops’ stronghold of Ballymoney town, yet thousands turned out for his book signing and he stood for over six hours without taking a break from his admirers.”
“He was also welcomed with open arms in Joey’s Bar, just a pity that the great man wasn’t there himself as the conversation would have been mighty.”
The Road Racing Ireland 2012 Yearbook, which is on sale now, also named McGuinness Rider of the Meeting at the 2012 Isle of Man TT.